Friday, 14 December 2018

Is Rugby failing in its duty of care to its players?

The tragic death of 19 year old Stade Francias academy player Nicolas Chauvin, who died of "cervical trauma that resulted in cardiac arrest and cerebral anoxia" following a heavy tackle in the fifth minute of a game against Bordeaux-Begles at the weekend, should serve as a wake up call to us all. 

The incident comes four months after the death of another young French player, Louis Fajfrowski, who suffered a heart attack in the changing room after receiving a heavy tackle playing for Aurillac. 

The common denominator here? The words "heavy tackle". 

We all know and accept that, in a contact sport such as rugby, the risk of injury is very real. But a risk to life? 

There have been (thankfully very rare) tragedies in the past, of course, but the deaths of two young players in the same season, both seemingly caused by heavy tackles, really should be setting alarm bells ringing amongst rugby authorities. 

The game has a duty of care to protect its players. Right now it looks as if it is failing in that duty.

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